SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Amazing Spider-Man #800 by Dan Slott, Nick Bradshaw, Humberto Ramos, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Stuart Immonen, Marcos Martin, Victor Olazaba, Cam Smith, Wade von Grawbadger, Edgar Delgado, Java Tartaglia, Marte Gracia, Muntsa Vicente and VC's Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
"Go Down Swinging" features the final showdown between Spider-Man and Norman Osborn, but it's another character's ultimate sacrifice that will leave readers reaching for a tissue to wipe the tears from their eyes.
After looking up to Spider-Man as his hero for years, Eugene "Flash" Thompson got to fight alongside the web-slinger against Norman's new devilish persona, the Red Goblin. Flash has undergone a few different alter egos himself, going from Agent Venom to Agent Anti-Venom, with the new ability to heal and also harm other symbiotes.
Both those powers came into play when Red Goblin attacked Spider-Man's allies. Flash stayed behind to heal Human Torch, Miles Morales, Silk and Clash after a confrontation with the Red Goblin, but this also left Anti-Venom in a weakened state. This is very important, because we later learn Red Goblin left shards of himself in five of Peter's closest friends and loved ones, which he can use to kill them with a snap of his fingers. However, when the time comes, Aunt May, Mary Jane, Clash, Silk and Harry Osborn are spared by Anti-Venom's healing abilities.
Enraged, Red Goblin attacks Flash for daring to stop his evil scheme. Though Anti-Venom's touch harms the Carnage symbiote, Norman is still a Green Goblin underneath, complete with Goblin weapons like electrified gloves. It's these gloves that Norman uses to choke the life out of Flash.
As devastating as Flash's death is, readers can take comfort in knowing that in his final moments, he learned his best friend, Peter Parker, is also his idol, Spider-Man. Growing up together in high school, Flash was the resident bully, always picking on "Puny Parker" and making his life a living hell. However, the bully act was all to mask Flash's personal pain from a rough upbringing at home.
Not only would Flash and Peter eventually become best friends, Flash got to fight side-by-side with Spider-Man on numerous occasions, an on again/off again relationship that eventually led to Flash helping to turn the tide in the web-slinger's fight against the Red Goblin.
Peter also got to say a few words at Flash's funeral. Because of Spider-Man, Flash dedicated his life to protecting others through military service. Even the loss of his legs wouldn't stop Flash from doing what was right, time and time again with and without his symbiotes.
During Betty Brant's eulogy, she mentioned Flash being the head of the Spider-Man Fan Club. But the most touching moment comes when Peter closes the ceremony with, "I'm your number one fan. You're the hero I look up to."
Of course, this is comics, so the likelihood of Flash Thompson staying dead forever are pretty slim. Another creative team will eventually find a way to resurrect Flash and bring him back into Spider-Man's world. But for now, we salute a fallen soldier and thank Flash for all his years of unselfish service to his country -- and his best friend.